Even if Mitt Romney's subsequent poll bounce was negligible, another candidate took off like a rocket after the Republican National Convention. Utah Congressional candidate Mia Love -- a heavy underdog at the campaign's onset -- has galvanized major support in the wake of her national showcase on the convention's opening night. In a dramatic change, a new poll now shows Love opening up a significant lead over incumbent Democrat Jim Matheson:
A Public Opinion Strategies poll released last night by Mia Love’s campaign showed the Republican pulling out to a double-digit lead over Rep. Jim Matheson (D) in Utah’s 4th district. The Saratoga Springs mayor led 51 percent to 36 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Love’s pollster had found Matheson ahead in July with 51 percent, so the new poll indicates a dramatic shift in the race. Previous public polling had also shown Matheson with a signficant lead. Since then, Love has become far better known, thanks in part to a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. The poll showed that her favorable rating had improved to 51 percent, up from 39 percent in July. Matheson’s 57 percent favorable rating had dropped from 68 percent. Love also benefits from presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket. He led President Barack Obama in the district, 73 percent to 25 percent.
Utah Democrats say the poll was conducted for Love's campaign and therefore "should not be given any credence." But this same pollster confirmed Matheson's large advantage several months ago; the landscape has since shifted. The National Republican Campaign Committee has produced a pair of web videos boosting Love. One highlights her life story and values, and the other profiles a small business in her district:
I generally view internal polls with a jaundiced eye, and this one is no exception. I'd be a bit surprised if Love were really ahead by the 15-point margin this survey indicates, but it's clear that the face of this race has changed dramatically. And as the Roll Call piece quoted above observes, Mitt Romney's very long coattails in the state will provide Love with an extra push on election day.